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I enjoyed THE NEW YORKER article and it immediately reminded me of this: This seems to sum up at some level both the beginning Nat'l Geo photo policy, most personal analog policies (or should I say care when there was a personal cost?) and the spelunking required of digital/phone photography.
Toggle Commented Mar 31, 2022 on Mike Hits the Big Time at The Online Photographer
So 14 addresses, 10 cities, 9 states, 1 country But I see a seasonality effect; I had 5 residences before 3rd grade as my Parents were settling into their adult lives. 3 residences in college, 5 residences in my early career/family life and now 1 for 25 years as I settled my career and wanted my kids to be settled through the school years. Probably 1 or 2 more once I retire but who knows?
I agree that having a great vocabulary is a wonderful and enriching (not necessarily $$ enriching). However for the stubborn among us having someone tell you that you "should study x" is easily translated to "x is boring and I won't like studying that." Two family examples: my son couldn't understand the value in reading at a young age. "You read to me, my sister reads to me." Then Calvin and Hobbes hit his purview and I said I wouldn't read it to him. His sister said "and I won't read the next Harry Potter to you." Now he has a vast vocabulary and also loves to read! The second vocabulary story was with my daughter who was taking Spanish in high school and found it kind of boring. She bought the Spanish language version of Harry Potter (there might be an underlying theme here) figuring she loved that and would learn more that way. A love of reading can enrich your vocabulary in any language.
I've certainly experienced this but I've also found that the phone is no longer the best avenue for support. I had a new inexpensive lens develop a focus issue. Small company/importer of a Chinese lens. My expectations for resolution were low but I sent an email to support and got a response in four hours! With an RMA number! Two weeks in the shop and free return shipping and the lens was back and working flawlessly. This is a photo example of one of several warranty issues in Covid times. Sometime the email has led to a call from customer service for 1:1 resolution from someone who clearly knew the product. I found it refreshing and given that none of these were urgent very easy to work with. My interactions with the IRS, well, not so good. I just got a form letter saying "one of my calculations" in "this range of the w2" was wrong and to send them money. I use computer based tax software so it seems unlikely the calculation was wrong, but given that the amount asked for was not Kirk's car level payment but "merely" a fancy dinner out for two, I paid online - no "we never received your payment" that way - screen shots in the tax folder.
By your own "snapshot" metric I think there are a number of nice examples that might have been missed if they didn't have their iPhone with them: Christmas trees, Walking on air, Black Summer Blue Montaigne - not all my favories but plausibly "snapshots". Maybe we can next get a wooden field camera contest going and complain if they aren't all landscapes and architecture! Clearly it’s a marketing thing to call it iPhone both from a entry and viewing results participation but that does not bother me, I'm always happy to see people wanting to show their their images, and what other folks pick as winners.
Toggle Commented Jul 29, 2021 on Rant: Smartphone Contest at The Online Photographer
On written word vs video learning I wonder if this is partially about how much you already know and how much you don't, or if it is what you need to know. I find most "how to" or review videos on photography to be both annoying and often very boosterish, which I see much less of in blogs. But my knowledge base in photography is pretty deep and pretty wide as I've been involved in the field (gulp) for more than 50 years. On the other hand I have relatively recently taken on working on a car -an area where I have much less knowledge (though I've been driving for not quite 50 years). There are many good blogs for this car but many of the topics end with "and if you want to see how to fix it search YouTube". Which I find is true for me, Youtube video is a far better teacher than the poorly illustrated repair manuals I've found. So is it that I need the greater "handholding" of the video on the topic I know less well or is it just the greater visual and contextual feedback?
My top 3: -Increasingly effective RAW processing tools and more sources of them from iPhone to pro level camera and between. I love that I can go back and rework an image and get more out of it than I could 5 years ago. - Fast accurate auto focus. I trade up several times chasing this - Quality electronic view finder - I know they are still controversial but once they got to a certain level of quality they became a game changer for me.
Sony vs Fuji may also be a question of shekels (not a problem for you pool hustlers) a quick hunt shows Sony A6000 with the much reviled but still capable for many, 16/50 zoom for $648 compared to the fuji at $1049 w the 27mm. Even when I squint that seems like real money to me. Obviously there are plenty of models/price points to consider but I'm just sayin... price plays a part for many in their photo decision process. [And a good used A6000 can be an even better deal, too, for making your money go a long way. --Mike]
I just ran across the article linked below. I wonder which were his top 10 cameras? As far as my list, like you, I started with my father's Zeiss Ikon Contaflex b, traded my first motorcycle for a Canon FT with a 50mm 1.2 lens and darkroom equipment. My two favorite non digital cameras however were workhorses: a brace of Nikon fm2's and a Deardorff 11x14 studio view camera on a twin poll "tripod". With reducing backs all the way to 4x5 and a 6ft plus bellows extension all done out in wood it was a joy and I paid 175.00 for it! Favorite digital camera? I'm not sure I have one. The Nikon D70 was a revelation but but the one I've enjoyed the most was probably a near point and shoot; the Samsung TL350 had RAW file output and was eminently pocketable. I've had many more capable cameras but it is definitely in my top 10.
Okay, I’ll play I admit I was taken aback by the statement: “It's a middlebrow conceit to say "I like everything!" in a chipper voice, which to real music aficionados means that music isn't very important to that person”. Fortunately it was good to see in the comments that I am not alone in having an “important” relationship to music, but it is a bit eclectic as well encompassing various forms of Jazz, Pop and Rock from the 40’s on. So many of the artists mentioned ticked those boxes. One that I haven’t seen mentioned and perhaps further solidifies my middlebrowness (?) is Jimmy Buffett, who’s music just makes me happy. Not an amazing musician but a very good songwriter and even better perhaps, a great bandleader who often mixes genere’s and including band members like Mac McAnally who is just amazing on his own.
Things I’m glad I did: Went to university for Photography but as a BS instead of a BA Worked my way through school printing other peoples pictures (great way to evaluate how to make a better print with less emotional involvement) Had an extended career as a commercial photographer Moved to a new career when the above stopped being rewarding Continued photography as a non-career Learned to view the world in terms of light, shadow, color etc. Things I wish I did or was sorry I did, and sometimes still do, sadly: Didn’t print enough - For me, my editing for the screen is not as polished as edits I do for a print. Selling all of my view cameras when I closed my business Dismiss photography/photographers with less than well realized prints Attend plays and concerts and get distracted by the staging of light, shadow, color etc. Spending too much time editing video projects instead of just using it for capturing family life Taking more pictures of “mundane” family life
Well I’m going to use an analogy that should be dear to your heart. 20 years from now children born this year may very well not feel the need to know how to drive with autonomous driving vehicles being the norm. I like to drive, enough so that I recently bought a gently used 20 year old Mazda Miata. I could have bought a newer more “refined” version of the same car or something more computational advanced but I chose what seemed appropriate for my use case; top down fun in the summer. Car manufacturers continue to churn out a myriad of vehicles even as we in the US seem to have adopted a SUV in every driveway mentality. I chose my most recent camera in a similar but slightly more pragmatic way. I didn’t buy at the top of the food chain, I didn’t buy a P&S or rely just on the, very good, cameras in my iPhone XS or Samsung S9, I bought a camera that met my needs - in this case it was a current model that has since been superseded (or is that superceded) oh well. Meeting customer needs (while making a profit) is indeed the business that most companies are in and as long as there is a market someone will likely choose to fill it. I think the interesting thing is that the learningis may shift from the camera companies informing the designs of the phone/integrated camera makers to the firmware learnings of the phone/camera makers informing the more niche camera designs that readers of this column may ascribe to.
I'm not much into art criticism so I bailed halfway through reading the linked article, primarily because it annoyed me. To the question of what to do about the works of artists of bad (or good) behavior. Part of this is a question of whether you are looking at a historical work - which presumably has no financial/political impact on the artist. In cases like that I think it is easy to evaluate "art for art's sake" But when it comes to living artists I think the question is if they are of "known bad character" whatever that means, and I think should be a purely personal evaluation. You should vote with your pocketbook; Don't visit the gallery/theatre/Movie/buy the book etc. The question I don't think you explicitly asked is what to do with art that was created in the past where the art is now considered generally offensive, particularly if it is in the public eye. Frankly I'm thinking this is a case of "tough luck" We shouldn't bury our history but learn from it. Which very tangentially leads into your Sony news. I recently bought a Sony 6400 and have no real interest in the new devices - I bought when it met my needs and requirements and I'm happy with that - frankly at this point the camera is not likely to be the barrier to my ability to deliver the work I want to do. If I was in the market for a new camera it would be just another data point in my decision tree - really new I don't care. What are the feature/price/benefits of these and other cameras that is when camera news is important to me. So to recap I'm not so hot on reviewers/art critics who are trying to get me to buy for buying's sake or not think for myself.
Toggle Commented Aug 29, 2019 on ? at The Online Photographer
The first couple were easy even if not necessarily fashionable. Ansel Adams and Jay Maisel were the first two photographers who I knew of when the photo bug hit me as a teenager (many decades ago). Iterestingly I was introduced to them as “artists” not commercial photographers but they were certainly that as well. I was next introduced to Edward Weston, and while I find many things of interest I don’t think he would make my final five. I think controversies aside I’d have to add Steve McCurry to my list as the visual storytelling of his images always stops me. Without too much additional consideration I’d also add Joel Meyerowitz and Pete Turner. So that’s five already and I’ve barely scratched the itch. It also says something about early influences having a stronger pull than some of the younger generation of photographers I admire.
Toggle Commented Jul 30, 2019 on Dream Team at The Online Photographer
I had a MK2 and then a MK3, both were capable cameras, neither saw the level of action they should have because they aren't really "pocketable" and as such they were with me less often than they should have been. I've severely cut my camera collection down to: "gasp" an iPhone XS, and a Sony A6400. The XS truly is with me always and is generally "good enough" particularly when you extract RAW from it. The 6400 is more than good enough, generally showing my limitations not the camera's. I pair it with the only barely good enough kit lens zooms: The unfairly maligned PZ 16-50mm and the more fairly maligned 18-135mm 3.5-5.6 which hits my sweet spot for size when I'm traveling. I have a host of other "prime lenses" may of which are adapted to the 6400 for special purpose uses, but the above fit my every day use, and ride in my backpack.
So I used to have the RX100 III and a A6000. I found the ergonomics of the RX100 are such that I would generally pull out the A6000 or not bring a camera at all - which was the purposed of the RX100 in the first place. Times have changed. Now I have moved to a A6400 and a iPhone XS shooting RAW - which is the first phone camera that I now take seriously. The combination is more than good enough for me. Just as a minor point of interest my largest selling print in the last 10 years was taken with a ~10MP Samsung small sensor camera so I've long opted out of the more mega pixels war.
Oh I understand but disagree. My current camera has dozens of adjustments which I looked at once and mostly decided I didn't need. Helpfully it does have easily accessible controls for aperture priority, speed priority and manual (or whatever they are actually called) along with a very easy to access auto bracket and EV adjustment. Tied to a great viewfinder and wickedly good autofocus I don't need more. I don't need to look at the manual (I haven't even downloaded it! I don't feel the need to master every feature in the camera right now as it does what I need. I must admit though as an old-time darkroom junkie I still enjoy post production at least as much as the capture side.
I'm with Geoff on this in general, tax avoidance schemes generally tick me off because they seem to dodge social responsibility. I also find that many of the same people complain about the state of our roads, schools, etc. This is a bit different of course because the tax IS being paid. Instead this a well known process where a number of people will fall behind and pay usurious interest rates instead. Now this could be a good deal for those who are rigorous about paying this off and thus saving some money and perhaps in some small way cutting into the profits of Synchrony.
Sigh I started to wriite this after the last “prints are the only archive column” I disagree, nothing against prints but there are valid alternatives I made the decision recently to “Marie Kondo” my store of images. I have literally hundreds of large format transparencies of professional work that I want to “save” but I neither want prints of them nor expect anyone will want to sit by a lightbox and review even the mounted transparencies from my portfolio. And then the personal images! I have thousancds of 35mm slides taken over 30+ years - no one wants to sit for a slide show of these now (if they ever did!). Add to this the family “snapshots” stored in 4x6 inch prints that no one sees... So I’m back to photographing the big transparecies with my 24MP camera and scanning the 35mm transparencies and 35mm and 2 1/4 B&W negatives. This last is going to take quite awhile. When complete though, I’m throwing the originals out - they bring me no joy :-) All of this then goes up on the web where, surprisingly enough my kids, wife and extended family look at all of it! Now an argument can be made that much of this is not the photographs as art than much of this discussion is about but for this exercise I don’t make much of a distinction as all are equally important. I have a few select prints framed in my house and a few in digital printed photo books. I also have, a very few prints stored in archival boxes to be framed some day, I think. So pints (or transparencies) are not my real archive. My accessible archive of everything from work to projects, travel, family is on the web, which also has a two separate disk backups as well as a backup on my host. In addition by digital photo library sits on 3 different disks that are duplicates - I used to maintain 1 of these off site but then it was not usually in sync. The one thing I don’t really worry about is the inability to read these in the future - they are constantly maintained and all images are stored redundently as Jpeg, Tif and RAW (if applicable). In the digital world I’ve probably had just about every variant of storage that good money could be thrown at - but before I got ride of the last bernouli, floppy (8, 5 1/4 and 3.5in) tape drives, syquest (44, 88, 105, 270MB) dozens upon dozens of Hardrives (my first 300MB drive was $1500) Hmm print archiving is starting to sound like the economical alternative!
So how does this fit with your long love of the Miata? Presumably the last time you had a Miata, which wasn't that long ago you weren't at your High School fighting weight? That being said I am on the wrong side of the BMI line and drive an SUV but have for more than 20 years starting with the first generation of the Honda CRV and now with a slightly sportier Mazda CX-5. I look at some sedans but in a land of big pickups, even bigger SUV's where even the CRV and CX-5 look small I couldn't pull the trigger on a smaller car. I really liked the form factor and driving experience of a few of them and didn't find them all that hard to get into but looking up at the surrounding vehicles (or my other views being blocked by them) was not a comfy feeling for an every day driving experience. Now a Miata as a second car... [I'm not very typical. I'm on the larger side (not really big, but 6'1.5" and 233 lbs.), but I like small cars. I also greatly prefer manual transmissions, to the point that driving automatics actively bugs me. My current car, which I like more now than when I bought it, is closely related to the Civic Si I mentioned in the post. It's an Acura ILX 2.4, which has the same drivetrain as an Si from that time frame (2014) but is softened and more luxurious than the Civic it's based on. It's an up-to-80% drives and handles well at up to 80% of its capability. Beyond that it start to show its weaknesses. That's the opposite of a real performance car, which doesn't come into its own until you're pushing it past 80% of its capability. But of course most cars are like mine. As for my NB Miata (a 2001 SE), I loved it, but I almost did a YouTube instructional video showing the proper technique for a too-large man to get into and out of a Miata! There were a few tricks to it. And it HAS to be a second car if you ask me. I only drove it in the Winter a couple of times, but one on of those occasions I got stuck on an icy "hill" on which the slope was barely detectable. It was pretty funny. Just couldn't get the car to move. I had to enlist a number of neighbors to help push me to the garage. --Mike]
I really don't care how you pronounce Nikon, however this column was worth reading just for introducing me to the word portmanteau!
I find the idea of whether you print or not based on ROI somewhat amusing and somewhat appalling! I may be an anomaly, but I find making my own prints part of the whole process of photography. This may be because I worked my way through college as a custom printer in a photo lab, and as a photo assistant spent many a long day in the darkroom making prints for advertising clients. But I really think it is because I find I'm a bit careless with my edits if they are left for images only to be seen on the screen, usually on the web on an uncalibrated monitor or tablet or phone! When I make prints, first work prints and then generally targeting a final size in the neighborhood of 11x17 I find the care of my edits always goes up. In addition because I already have the sunk cost of a printer I may make a fair number of smaller "work prints" and I may make two larger prints to get them "just right". That workflow just doesn't work when you send work out, either financially or really to maintain the groove of the creative process. Sure I've been known to upload stuff to my local Costco and pick up some prints there, but I feel these are the photo print equivalent to the photography I do with my smartphones (Yes I carry more than one, which is a long story in itself). How many prints to I make a year? probably less than 30 or 40 that I take to final full print form, but a lot of learning (and enjoyment) happens in the work prints that never make it that far. Without the last stage of printing, I would find significantly less enjoyment in photography. I'm not sure if this is generational or not because my kids (in their 20's) love that they have access to both family pictures and my other work on the web, but do occasionally ask for a real print as a gift for a special occasion.
First I love the picture - with you with a camera around your neck so wouldn't experience the "one that got away". The history picture is less likely to be missed initially these days where everyone has a phone camera with them. The problem then comes later: Ones that get away because they can't be found or were accidentally deleted. I've been steadily working the other end of the problem - trying to get my gear down in size that I'll always have something better than my iphone for the shots that are more than "just recording history" (and those too of course). The beauty of the mirrorless movement is this is getting easier. Bottom line is I have fewer shots that get away than in the past and I post for my family the history shots on a regular basis, and work on the others as time permits. As far as history goes my shots that got away occurred when I shot my sister's wedding. I submitted half the film to the lab and the lab ruined 1/2 the film. Couldn't happen twice... submitted the second half of the wedding and they ruined half of that also!
Toggle Commented Apr 26, 2016 on The Ones That Get Away at The Online Photographer
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